KVWO Welch benefit dance

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This Friday, August 25, 2017, there will be a western swing dance benefitting a small-town, non-profit radio station, KVWO 94.7, the Voice of Welch, Oklahoma.

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KVWO's "Dance 'Til Your Stockings Are Hot and Unraveling" fundraiser will be held in the Welch Civic Auditorium, running from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. Dewayne Bowman & the Swingin' West Band and the A-Bar Bunkhouse Band will headline the event -- both bands are donating their performances for the cause. Advance online tickets are $10 for adults and teens, $7.50 for kids 12 and under; tickets at the door are $12 for adults and teens, $9 for kids 12 and under. Doors open at 7.

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The goal is to raise $10,000 to build a transmitter tower for the station. Since going on the air last year, the station has shared a tower, using a digital wireless connection to send audio from the studios to the transmitter.

Our own tower means that we can maximize our licensed height and power allowances. Having our own tower should also allow us to become independednt of the internet to put our signal on the air. That means as little downtime as is possible, especially in times of severe weather.

Additionally, our own tower means we'll be able to triple our current power output. Combined with raising our antenna to the maximum allowed height, this power increase should help us penetrate as far as Vinita, Miami, and Chetopa, if not beyond. That means better over-the-air reception for more people who'll have local news and information, as well as severe weather coverage and emergency information and instructions, as close as their nearest radio and completely free of charge.

KVWO is the culmination of a long-time dream for Welch native Tyson Wynn, who wanted to provide a community-based media outlet for his hometown. Wynn got his broadcasting start as a high school student on Vinita station KITO, but these days that station is a repeater for a big-city station. In 2009, Wynn launched welchok.com as the local online newspaper. In 2014, he successfully applied for an FCC license to operate a low-power FM station, but it wasn't until early this year that he was able to get the station on the air.

One of his early welchok.com features was livestreaming audio on the website for Welch High School sporting events. Now those sporting events go out over the airwaves, reaching anyone in northern Craig County with an FM radio. (If you're outside the Welch metropolitan area, the station is streamed live on welchok.com.)

Off-air, Wynn also serves as the pastor of Living Hope Baptist Church in Welch. He also works with his wife, Jeane Wynn, through their firm Wynn-Wynn Media, providing publicity services for numerous well-known Christian authors and publishers. The couple co-hosts a daily talk show on the station.

In addition to local news, the station plays a blend of musical genres that Wynn calls "countrypolitan," saying of the local population, "We're country music, western swing, red dirt, classic rock, cowboy music, Americana, folk, rockabilly, standards-loving people." Back in March, I had the pleasure of being on the air with the Wynns to talk about the musical heritage of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.

If you like western swing music, community-supported media, or both, make the 80-minute drive from Tulsa to Welch this Friday night. Welch is about 20 miles north of the Vinita exit on the Will Rogers Turnpike on US 59.

KVWO is owned by a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and if you can't be at the dance but would like to support the station, your contribution would be gratefully received and tax-deductible.

On the occasion of the death of Jerry Lewis, Harry Shearer has posted his contemporaneous feature story about the 1976 Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. That was the year that, during a live appearance by Frank Sinatra, Lewis was reunited with his old partner in comedy, singer Dean Martin. The 11 MB 16-page PDF scan of the article obscures the name of the publication, and I don't recognize the style. (Esquire, maybe?)

The telethon was a fixture of my childhood. 1970 was the first year I remember watching, while visiting my great aunt and uncle at their trailer house on Grand Lake for Labor Day. It was fascinating to watch the tote board spinning ever higher and to see all the big stars of the day on one great big variety show.

There's a Tulsa connection in Shearer's story. Oral Roberts made an appearance on the '76 telethon, presenting a check for funds collected from the ORU student body.

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Aside from Jerry [Lewis] and [comedian] Jan [Murray], this is a very non-Jewish show. Jerry's kid-adult tug of war is also a contest between the Jew he is and the Christian he's becoming. So his office door in Century City bears a plaque that says "Super Jew." On the other hand, there is this blossoming relationship with Oral Roberts.

Oral Roberts was the first nationally-telecast faith healer, and he used to lay on hands and transmit through them the healing power of the Lord. But Oral has now classed up his act considerably. The announcer on his weekly television show introduces him as "author-educator-evangelist Oral Roberts." And he's become the benefactor of a charity that supports medical science. Look, Lord -- no hands.

Last year Oral made his first appearance on the Telethon on behalf of Oral Roberts University, a major power in both spirit and basketball. Then Jerry and his wife Patti made an extremely rare joint appearance last spring on an hour-long prime-time Oral Roberts special. Jerry did parts of his nightclub act, leaving out the rash bit, and then he and Patti chatted with Oral about life.

Now Oral has brought his whole revue to Vegas: Richard and Patti Roberts, the World Action Singers and the Ron Huff Orchestra on a pre-recorded track, and the Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, Cloggers. This act could headline at Knott's Berry Farm, it's that polished. Then Jerry introduces Roberts as "a true gentleman and one of God's chosen people," and Oral takes center stage.

"I said to the students at Oral Roberts University, 'Think of your love for crippled children. Think of your love for Jerry Lewis. Think of your love for God.'" Not bad. Second place -- behind the Deity, ahead of the kids. Oral gives Jerry a hefty check from the students at ORU. Som eof Lou Brown's musicians start whispering behind the curtain during the Oration. Jerry shushes them. "I pray," Oral finishes up, "that every friend and every partner of the Oral Roberts ministry will step to the phone right now. God bless you, Jerry."

As Oral strides purposefully out of the Space Center, Jerry tries to explain to the Jews watching what their boy has gotten into. "It gives you a strange kind of strength to know Oral Roberts. I think it's just because basically he's a nice man, and that's all we really want in life is to deal just with nice people." (A week after the Telethon, a Los Angeles station carries another prime-time Oral Roberts special, "Don't Park Here," directed by Jerry Lewis.)

That's just a tiny piece of a detailed and fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Jerry Lewis Telethon, and if you grew up in the '70s or love that era of American pop culture, you'll want to read the whole thing.

Shearer's story captures Oral Roberts at the peak of his period of mainstream respectability. ORU's campus was shiny and new. Sawdust and canvas had given way to slick TV specials that rivaled (and strongly resembled) the network variety shows of the day. Oral's kids were students at Holland Hall. He had left the Pentecostal Holiness movement, joined Boston Avenue Methodist Church, and was admitted to the ministry in the United Methodist denomination. In 1974, the ORU Titans narrowly lost the NCAA Midwest regional basketball finals to Kansas in overtime, and in the latter half of the decade, the team managed an eight-game winning streak against their crosstown rivals, the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane -- a streak that wasn't broken until Nolan Richardson's arrival at TU for the '80-'81 season.

In 1976, Oral Roberts had not yet overreached himself with the creation of the City of Faith (that announcement would come in 1977) or ORU's law school (which opened in 1979), moves that would put him at odds with Tulsa establishment figures who were benefactors of Tulsa's existing hospitals and law school.

MORE: Here's a stock photo of Evelyn and Oral Roberts with Patti and Jerry Lewis on an Oral Roberts TV special called "We the People". Also in 1976, Oral Roberts filmed a TV special at the Singing on the Mountain gospel music convention at Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, directed by Jerry Lewis and featuring Richard Roberts and the World Action Singers. Jerry Lewis participated in the tribute video played at Oral Roberts's memorial service.

Jerry Lewis's other Tulsa connection: His son, Gary Lewis, had a band called the Playboys. Pianist Leon Russell (from Tulsa) and guitarist and producer Tommy Allsup (from Collinsville) were session musicians on the group's first hit, "This Diamond Ring," and in later years Tulsans Carl Radle, Tommy Tripplehorn, and Jimmy Karstein were members of the band. (Those links go to photos on the Gary Lewis and the Playboys website.)

Tulsan Sarah Kobos has another insightful essay up at the Strong Towns website, illustrated with her own photos of lousy urban design right here in our hometown. While she's willing to forgive the urban design errors of the post-World War II decades, she politely asks cities to stop making them already:

Fine. We'll add the suburban development pattern to the long list of humanity's mistakes that occurred during the latter half of the 20th century. Like feathered bangs, the Ford Pinto, or any tattoo you got before the age of 35, sometimes we err, not because of malice, but from an understandable combination of ignorance and exuberance.

The thing that really drives me crazy is the present. Now, we know better. We recognize the economic, human health, and environmental benefits of traditional building patterns. And yet, there is so much inertia built into the system, we just keep building car-centric crap like it was 1985.

While there are walkable sections of the city that benefitted from neglect when we were busy tearing down downtown and building suburban neighborhoods, they are now endangered by their own success:

In older parts of the city, walkable neighborhoods are being rediscovered and revitalized because they're interesting, human-scaled, and pleasant. People are drawn to them because they have character, and because it's nice to be able to walk to dinner or bike to meet friends for coffee. Understandably, the moment a particular neighborhood becomes popular--thanks to its historic buildings and traditional building pattern--it will attract new development. But if you're not prepared with zoning laws to enhance and support walkability, you'll get what everyone knows how to build, which is crap for cars.

If you've wondered why urban advocates are so concerned about demolition and redevelopment in downtown and midtown neighborhoods, Sarah offers a clear and simple explanation: It's easier to preserve walkability in neighborhoods that were optimized for people getting around on foot -- with smaller blocks and buildings oriented to the sidewalk -- than to try to create it in neighborhoods that were optimized for getting around in a car. Because of Tulsa's relatively young age, we never had that many walkable neighborhoods to begin with, and too many of those we had have fallen victim to urban renewal, expressway construction, and inappropriate infill development approved by our city officials.

That's why many of us have long believed we should follow in the footsteps of nearly all of our peer regional cities and institute special design-focused land-use rules in our walkable, historic commercial districts. Oklahoma City, Wichita, Little Rock, Dallas, Fort Worth, Kansas City all have design rules customized to protect walkable neighborhoods. Tulsa doesn't, in part because of the idea that chain stores and restaurants will insist on building their standard design everywhere. But anyone who has traveled around the country or around the world has seen examples of standard chains -- McDonald's, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, to name a few -- who have adapted designs to local requirements in order to have a store where there are customers they want to reach.

While our new zoning code allows for this kind of district, certain developers have fought against it tooth-and-nail, and we haven't seen any leadership in the right direction from any of our mayors. Instead, rules that were written for auto-oriented suburban commercial development govern these walkable commercial districts:

Since that time, we have gradually added requirements to our ordinances governing commercial lots: parking per square foot of building space; percent of landscaping area; maximum floor area ratios; building setbacks, prohibitions against residential uses, and many more. But every one of these requirements was created with car-oriented, suburban-style development in mind. The zoning code didn't support the old places built for people on foot, and in far too many cities, ordinances and zoning maps have still not been updated to protect these incredibly valuable assets.

While I've been pleased to see some street-oriented infill development along Cherry Street replacing auto-oriented development -- Roosevelt's (where the car wash used to be), Chipotle, CVS (replacing a convenience store) -- the requirement for a ridiculously large minimum number of parking spaces has required the removal of many homes and small apartment buildings, reducing the number of people who can live affordably within walking distance of all these amenities. The massive parking lots reduce the area's density, which also reduces its economic productivity. Generally speaking, the higher the population density (up to a point far more dense than Tulsa will ever be), the less you have to spend on infrastructure to serve a given population.

I've been hoping for some leadership at City Hall on this issue for many years, but I've long since given up holding my breath. I appreciate the efforts of Tulsans like Sarah Kobos to educate citizens with vivid examples and lively language. Maybe, someday, we'll reach critical mass and see things change.

MORE: A collection of links to past BatesLine articles on zoning generally and in support of overlay districts such as neighborhood conservation districts, urban conservation districts, and historic preservation districts.

It's a paradox: The Tulsa Drillers, our city's minor league baseball team, appear to be in the best financial shape they've ever been and setting attendance records every year. But when I've attended games in recent years, I've been surprised at the large numbers of empty seats.

Below is a draft of an article I wrote on June 23, 2013, after a visit to the ONEOK Field with my son. I've been back to the park on a number of occasions since then, and my observations stand. Last August, my son and I attended four games during the season's final stretch, during which we observed the large number of empty seats, which suggested an actual attendance -- "butts in seats" -- far below paid attendance, which would include season tickets, whether used or not. The photos below, from that June 2013 game, show far more actual attendees than I've seen at more recent games. I should mention that we haven't been to a game this year, simply because we've been otherwise occupied this summer, but we'll probably try to make a game or two before the season is over.

Today, while running errands, I listened to Jessica Dyer's "Down to Business" show on KRMG, and her guest was Jason George, Executive Vice President of the Tulsa Drillers. It was interesting to hear him talk about the shift in the club's business philosophy with the move from Driller Stadium to ONEOK Field. Although the new park has half the capacity of the old one, the team has more than doubled the size of its permanent staff and increased its seasonal staff as well.

George talked about the decision to end the tradition of Pack-the-Park Night, when free tickets were distributed through QuikTrip, Arby's, and other local sponsors, typically for poorly attended midweek games. Our habit was to pay a few bucks extra per ticket to upgrade those free general admission coupons for reserved or box seats. The full house added to the excitement of being there for the game, and I suspect concession sales went through the roof. The lines were certainly long.

I phoned in with a question, which I relayed to the producer. They had me speak to George off the air, during a commercial break. My question: What could be done to allow people who actually show up to the game to buy good seats? George told me that they couldn't resell a seat that belonged to a season ticket holder. He mentioned that there was a higher retention rate among season ticket holders than at the old park.

George's answers on and off the air, along with my in-person observations, have convinced me that the downtown version of the Tulsa Drillers are no longer about baseball fans watching future major league stars. They are about selling corporate suites and club seats to companies -- selling the skyline as a backdrop to business meetings, and oh, by the way, there are some people playing sportsball on the grassy courtyard nearby.

Most of what I wrote four years ago still holds up, except that, of course, the old park can no longer be a venue for a baseball-fan-focused alternative, thanks to the city's foolish designation of the site for the BMX headquarters before the logistics (e.g., conflicts over "pouring rights") had been ironed out. It's a shame that a beautiful ballpark, ideal for watching the game, built and improved entirely with private funds, is being dismantled in favor of a downtown park funded through taxes and misoriented for baseball.


Tulsa's ONEOK Field is a great place to hang out on a summer evening, people-watch, let your kids splash and climb, and (if you're lucky enough to have infield seats) enjoy the view of the downtown skyline as the sun sets. But as a place to watch a baseball game, it's not nearly as good as the Tulsa Drillers' old ballpark at 15th and Yale.

Friday night I took my seven-year-old son downtown to join my daughter and the church youth group watching the Tulsa Drillers against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals at ONEOK Field.

The youth group had planned to sit on the outfield lawn, but I was considering paying extra for infield seats for me and the boy, so that we could see the state of the game more clearly. When we got to the box office, that wasn't an option. Only the $5 outfield lawn seats were available, and already they were filling up.

Fans sit in the right-field lawn at ONEOK stadium to watch the Tulsa Drillers

That wasn't because the infield seats were full. It looked like at least a third, maybe even half, of the 5,000 seats in the infield were unoccupied throughout the game. Presumably these seats belonged to season ticket holders who opted not to attend that night. I have heard that there are companies that buy season tickets as a business expense for entertaining clients and as a perk for their employees; if they're not needed for that purpose on a particular night, and no employee wants them, the seats go empty.

Empty seats in the stands at ONEOK Field

This was the first game I'd watched at ONEOK Field from the outfield lawn. For other games, I'd had infield tickets from a friend -- second row back from home plate in one case, club seating at other times. (Those seats had a great view of home, but during day games they put you right in the sun. We abandoned the second-row back seats after a few innings, preferring to watch from the shade of the concourse.)

From the outfield lawn, you're 400 feet from home plate. You're scarcely above the level of the players, so you're getting a vertically compressed, cross-section view of the game -- outfielders, infielders, pitcher, catcher, batter, umpire, runners, coaches are all on the same level. The batter, catcher, and home plate umpire seem to blend in to the crowd in the seats behind them. In most stadiums, when you look in from the outfield -- the typical TV camera angle -- you see a wall behind the batter, giving you a fairly clear view.. At ONEOK Field, there are fans sitting at tables right at ground level behind the batter.

From the east half of the right field lawn, you can't see the jumbo scoreboard because of the playground and towering batter's eye screen that protects the kids' splash pad. We could see the numbers on the small scoreboard over the 1st base seats, but it took a while to make out the lettering and figure out which number was which.

Batter and catcher blend into the crowd at ONEOK Field

Back in 1987, when friends and I went made three trips to old Busch Stadium and had upper-deck outfield seats to watch the St. Louis Cardinals, we would joke that the action on the diamond was so far away that "the game was only a rumor." But at least from that vantage point we could see the movement of the runners and fielders and have an idea of what was happening. Down on the ONEOK Field lawn, we didn't have that consolation.

At the old Drillers Stadium, there really wasn't a bad seat, although that wasn't the case from the beginning. When the first outfield seating was built along the left field foul line, the seats were oriented perpendicular to the foul line, so you had to sit at a sharp angle to the bench to see home. The closest seats to the field were at least 10 feet up. Owner Went Hubbard reoriented the left field seating and built right field seating angled to face the infield. He also dropped the box seats from their lofty perch to a more reasonable height above the field. The orientation of the park allowed the shadows to begin to shade the stands early in the evening. The results were great for watching baseball.

The downtown stadium backers said our old ballpark was too big at 10,950 seats. We needed a smaller, more intimate stadium so that it would feel full most of the time, they said. But how intimate can it feel when half of the seats are empty?

The Drillers should consider some measures that protect season ticket holders, but at the same time fill up the infield seats whenever possible (and as a bonus, make more money).

Since barcode scanners are used to scan every ticket each game, somewhere there's a computer that knows exactly which seats have already been claimed that game. That makes it possible to fill the infield stands without chaos.

The Drillers could offer season ticket holders a credit for notifying the Drillers and releasing their seats when they won't be used. Go to the website or the mobile app, click a button, and the Drillers can credit your account and resell the seat to someone who will actually use it that night.

The Drillers could offer seating upgrades after the third inning; ticket holders in the park could pay to upgrade to any unclaimed seat. Season ticket holders who are running late could notify the Drillers via the web or a mobile app not to release their seats.

As an alternative, maybe someone could bring an independent minor league team to play at the old park. The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball has teams in a number of old Texas League ballparks, including Wichita, Amarillo, and El Paso. A few of the teams manage to thrive playing just a few miles from a major league park -- the St. Paul Saints, the Kansas City T-Bones, and the Grand Prairie AirHogs (their home field, QuikTrip Park, is just seven miles from The Ballpark in Arlington). These teams draw fans who want to see baseball up close at an affordable price. QuikTrip Park, by the way, cost $20 million to build in 2008, and seats about 5500.

I'm in Denver this weekend to cover the 2017 Western Conservative Summit, one of the largest annual gatherings of conservatives outside the beltway. It's sponsored by the Centennial Institute, a think-tank affiliated with Colorado Christian University.

While the speaker lineup is not loaded with presidential candidates as it has been in years past, there are some big names on tap. Tonight we'll be hearing from former UN Ambassador John Bolton, Sen. Cory Gardner, Centennial Institute director Jeff Hunt, and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas. You can watch the plenary sessions live online on the Centennial Institute YouTube channel.

The weekend includes a broad selection of workshops. I just attended a session led by Pam Benigno and Ross Izard of the Education Policy Center of the Independence Institute on how to have an impact on your local school district, and in a few minutes I'll head to a session provicatively titled "Why Conservatives Should Be Christians; Why Christians Should be Conservatives" led by Prof. Doug Groothuis of Denver Seminary.

I'll be live-tweeting the sessions, so follow me @BatesLine on Twitter. The hashtag for the conference is #WCS17.

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Relevant to yesterday's post on the Smithsonian Channel documentary that misrepresented the history of Greenwood, Tulsa's historic African-American neighborhood that its residents rebuilt after it was sacked and burned in the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. The rebuilt neighborhood thrived and prospered for decades, becoming known as Black Wall Street, before urban renewal and expressway construction destroyed it again in the late 1960s. Here is a news story from the time that illustrates the social and financial impact of the decision to route the expressway through the heart of the Deep Greenwood commercial district.

From the Tulsa Library's online "vertical files," this article from the May 4, 1967, Tulsa Tribune, shows a photo of the demolition of the Dreamland Theater to make way for I-244. The story reports on the number of long-time small businesses that are closing down because they can't get financing to reopen somewhere new. Although the library's PDF has OCR text, it is full of mis-scanned words, so I decided to transcribe it here, and correlate it with other contemporaneous sources of information.

An Old Tulsa Street Is Slowly Dying
Greenwood Fades Away Before Advance of Expressway

By JOE LOONEY

An old man walked doen the sunny side of Greenwood Avenue and paused to stare at a pile of rubble.

Across the street, Ed Goodwin looked out the window of the offices of the Oklahoma Eagle and shook his head. "That's L. H. Williams," the Negro publisher said. "He comes down here every day. Since he had to sell out, he's just put the money in the savings and loan and lives off the interest . . ."

Ed Goodwin and L. H. Williams grew up with Greenwood Avenue. They remember the early days, when the first buildings were put up in the two blocks north of Archer Street.

They saw the riot of 1921, when many of the buildings burned. They saw the street rebuilt, grow and prosper. They saw, too, as a slum festered.

And now they are watching Greenwood Avenue die.

Its business district will be no more.

THE CROSSTOWN Expressway slices across the 100 block of North Greenwood Avenue, across those very buildings that Goodwin describes as "once a Mecca for the Negro businessman--a showplace."

There still will be a Greenwood Avenue, but it will be a lonely, forgotten lane ducking under the shadows of a big overpass. The Oklahoma Eagle still will be there, but every forecast is that some urban renewal project will push down the buildings that have not already been torn down by the wrecking crews clearing right-of-way for the superhighway.

Williams' son went to college and got a degree in pharmacy. He helped his father in the drug store, later was its manager. Today, he is looking for a job. He can't get financing to build another drug store anywhere.

"Very few of the businessmen here are able to get the financing they need to relocate," Goodwin said. "A Negro just can't do it. So, most of them are just out of business."

IT WAS BECAUSE of financing that Goodwin stayed on the street when [sic] he grew up instead of building a new office in another neighborhood.

His father operated a grocery store in a building across the street--one of those torn down to make room for the expressway.

"He built it in 1915," Goodwin recalled. "and it was destroyed in the 1921 riot. But he rebuilt and there was a grocery store there until 1930. I ran a furniture store there for a while, then put the Eagle office in there in 1936."

There, the Oklahoma Eagle remained until last year.

Goodwin owned an old theater building. It was not in the path of the highway.

"I wanted to put the paper out closer to my house, but they wanted so much money for the property, I decided it would be better to put the money into the building."

In the midst of old buildings, most of them dark, red brick structures dating to the early 1920s, he built a shining modern buff-brick structure. Behind the new building housing the Eagle, in what had been the orchestra pit of the old theater, he put a sunken garden.

OTHER PIECES of history have scattered away. There was the Dreamland Theater. J. W. Williams built it in 1916, then rebuilt it after it burned in the 1921 riot. A Negro Elks lodge moved in years ago, and this was a leading social center for the Negro community.

A rather substantial expressway pillar is slated to plunk down just about where the lobby of the theater was. The Elks managed to find a house 15 blocks up the street and there they moved a few weeks ago.

Otis Isaacs had a shoe shop next door. He rented his space from Alex Spann, who owned many of the buildings on the street. lsaacs had to shift for himself. He found a place 10 blocks away.

Attorney Amos Hall had an office downstairs. and upstairs had provided space for the Negro Masonic Lodge, of which he is Grand Master. Hall and his lodge both moved Into a building five blocks away.

BUT THE WILLLIAMS Drug is not being relocated. Nor has barber Joe Bulloch found a new place to go into business. Dr. A. G. Bacholtz has given up the private practice he carried on for so long on Greenwood Avenue, and is working with the City-County Health Department.

And Alex Spann. the building owner. He had a pool hall. With the money he got for his buildings, he bought another old pool hall a mile up Greenwood.

Hotel owner A. G. Small couldn't build another hotel anywhere. So he decided to retire. Mrs. Joseph W. Miller, whose late husband built a hotel which she operated, also could not rebuild. She, too, has retired.

A couple who operated a cafe gave up their own business and went to work for restaurants in downtown Tulsa. A man who owned a garage was just about able to get his mortgage paid off from the funds from the sale of the building to the highway department. He is not back in business anywhere else.

PAT WHITE was able to move his barbecue stand into a new home on Pine Street. The Christ Temple CME Church moved to Apache and Lewis.

"There is no Negro business district anymore," Goodwin said. Tulsa attached the name of Greenwood to the entire district occupied by Negroes--a name that ironically came from the city of Greenwood, Miss., a pIace hardly considered a Mecca for Negroes.

"They might as well take down all these parking meters," the publisher said. "There's nothing to park here for anymore."

In its heyday, it was a busy street. But the buildings grew old. The Negro population moved into newer neighborhoods. Slowly, integration opened a few doors downtown, on the other side of Archer Street. Places to eat. Go to a movie. To work at good jobs.

RAUCOUS CLUBS and rooming houses sprang up around Greenwood and Archer. Long before the expressway came and brushed the old street away, it was a dying street, like the main street of many an old, small town.

The future? A question mark for some like L. H. Williams Jr. More certain for young Jim Goodwin, who like his father became a lawyer, or for Ed Goodwin Jr., who edits the newspaper his father publishes. For others, they simply are passing from the scene, like the street they knew for half a century.

Right-of-Way for Crosstown Expressway

SOMETIME, POSSIBLY about four years from now, an elevated eight-lane expressway will cross Greenwood Avenue between Brady and Cameron Streets.

Right-of-way for the project is now being cleared. This Tribune photo looks northwest along the construction path.

Greenwood enters the picture at the upper left, and the buildings in the right background are on Cameron.

The expressway will be about 30 feet above the ground as it crosses Greenwood.

It will carry the designation Interstate 244, and will be part of the Crosstown Expressway which forms the north side of a planned inner dispersal loop around the downtown area.

East of Greenwood, the project is taking nearly all the land between Cameron and Archer Streets as far east as the Texas & Pacific Railway (formerly the Midland valley) tracks.

The expressway will cross Archer Street and both the T&P and Santa Fe railroads east of Hartford Avenue.

West of Greenwood. the right-of-way runs northwesteriy, crossing Cameron before it gets to Frankfort Place.

Here is a section of the January 5, 1951, aerial photo showing Deep Greenwood.

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Here is the same area, from the September 10, 1967, USGS aerial photo, taken just four months after the Tribune article. As you can see, the expressway cuts right through the heart of the Black Wall Street business district. Had planners moved the expressway a block further south or perhaps built over the broad Frisco right-of-way, Greenwood would not have lost its commercial heart. Who decided the exact route is a question worth investigating.

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Here is the same area as it is today, from Google Maps.

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The buff-brick building mentioned in the story is still the home of the Oklahoma Eagle, at 624 E. Archer St., the SW corner of Archer and Hartford. The mention of the theater and orchestra pit on that property sent me looking: Sanborn's 1915 map shows a single-story building labeled "moving pictures" on the south side of Archer just east of the north-south alleyway that split the block; that's west of the "new" Eagle building. 1939 and 1962 maps show a two-story building, about twice as deep as the theater, with rooms on the 2nd floor and two retail spaces on the first floor.

Here is the 1962 Sanborn map covering most of the area described in the article:

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On the jump page are lists of businesses, from the 1957 Polk City Directory, on blocks that were affected by demolition. To add context, I've included buildings that were spared (at least spared by the expressway, but those buildings that were demolished for the expressway are shown in bold; italics indicates a business mentioned in the Tribune story. Even though this directory was published a decade before demolition, it's notable that so many businesses were still around 10 years later, persisting until the end. It's also notable that there were so many small, family-owned businesses and so many residences in such a concentrated area.

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There was some excitement among Tulsa history buffs when it was learned that the Smithsonian Channel would be showing colorized clips from home movies showing Greenwood, Tulsa's historic African-American district, as it was in the mid-to-late1920s. Instead we have another instance of the erroneous notion I call the "Greenwood Gap Theory" -- the idea that Greenwood was never rebuilt after the riot -- this time being promulgated by one of America's most respected cultural institutions.

The Smithsonian Channel is not available on cable TV in Tulsa, but the program, "America in Color: The 1920s," is available to watch on the Smithsonian Channel website, free of charge. The segment on Greenwood begins about 16 minutes into the program and lasts about 90 seconds.

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As American Heritage reported back in September 2006 (noted here on BatesLine a few days later), Oklahoma historian Currie Ballard had acquired 29 cans of film that had been taken by Solomon Sir Jones, a black Baptist preacher, who had been assigned by the National Baptist Convention "to document the glories of Oklahoma's black towns." Yale University has made the Solomon Sir Jones film collection available for viewing online. The stills above are from Film 18; the stills below, from the offices of the Oklahoma Eagle in 1927, are from Film 2.

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It's disappointing that Arrow International Media (producers of this Smithsonian series) chose to present images of a prosperous Greenwood (and Muskogee) circa 1925, followed by film of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. The order of presentation and the narration leave the viewer with the impression that the riot destroyed the prosperity shown in the Jones films when in fact, the Jones films depict the triumphant resurgence of the Greenwood community after the riot.

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It's understandable that a member of the general public, knowing about the 1921 Riot and seeing the area as it is today, might leap to the conclusion that Greenwood was never rebuilt. But the producers of the Smithsonian video had access to all the information they needed to tell the complete story.

Doug Miller of Müllerhaus Legacy, a publishing house in Tulsa, debunks the Smithsonian presentation with precision and passion.

I was initially excited today to see that the Smithsonian Channel was including Greenwood in a new documentary entitled "America in Color." But, upon watching the section that discussed Greenwood and the race riot, I was saddened to see an almost total misrepresentation of the the film footage. I immediately saw significant errors and omissions that, in my opinion, rob Greenwood of its rightful legacy.

As you'll read below, the mistakes are many and were so obvious that I can only assume they were made knowingly with the intention of elevating narrative above fact. It's a practice that has become common place in the news media today. Sadly, it has apparently also filtered down to historians. Before supposing that these errors don't really matter, I hope you'll read my entire post. I outline the errors that I think matter very much. And I explain why.

Miller lists and rebuts five egregious errors in the segment: (1) None of the footage shows Greenwood before the riot, as the narration implies. (2) Much of the street footage shown was actually from Muskogee, as Rev. Jones's meticulous title cards clearly indicate. (3) Greenwood's founding is misrepresented. (4) The riot is depicted as an attack motivated by universal white resentment against Greenwood's prosperity; the reality, documented in contemporary news sources, is much more complex.

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The fifth error does the greatest cultural damage:

Fifth, and most damning: the film says nothing of Greenwood's rightful legacy. Perhaps I should not single out this film on this point. Most tellings of the Tulsa Race Riot are, in my opinion, guilty of doing the same. I have long been of the opinion that the rebuilding of Greenwood needs to take its rightful place as one of the single most powerful and inspirational stories of Black America's fight to overcome the injustice of segregation and racial inequity. When one fairly considers the breathtaking scope of the destruction, the speed of reconstruction, the opposition to rebuilding (even within the black community), and the defiant independence with which the community achieved all they did, one cannot help but be moved at the level of the soul.

Yet, while the story of the riot is advertised far and wide, very few Tulsans and even fewer outsiders know the glorious story of Greenwood's rebuilding. From my own personal interactions, I dare say that most Tulsans believe that Greenwood's history ended in 1921. Many people are shocked to find out that Greenwood reached its economic peak in 1941 and continued to thrive well into the 1960s.

No, the white mob did not win. Greenwood won. And that should be what every Tulsan remembers best about the legacy of Greenwood. It is a story of remarkable victory, not defeat and destruction. To say otherwise is to deny the inconceivable achievement of every African American father and business leader who died protecting their community and their families during that horrific event. And, who chose to defiantly stay in Tulsa to rebuild.

Miller is absolutely right on all points: Most people assume that the Riot is the reason that so little of Greenwood remains (and that the neighborood to the west is vacant except for a few eerie Steps to Nowhere).

Miller is right, too, that the rebuilding of Greenwood is an inspirational story of African-American resiliance, perserverance, and initiative in the face of violent racism that every Tulsan, every American ought to know.

So why is there this preference for the Greenwood Gap theory, the notion that "Greenwood's history ended in 1921"? Why is the rebuilding rarely mentioned in discussions of the Riot?

I have two hypotheses: One speaks to local political concerns and the other deals with national cultural sensitivies.

The local hypothesis is that Tulsa's civic and cultural leaders found it more pleasant to leave people with the incorrect impression that Greenwood was never rebuilt than to face their own culpability in its second destruction. If you remind people that Greenwood was rebuilt, bigger and better than before, according to eyewitness accounts, it raises a question in their minds: Why isn't it here anymore? And the answer to that question raises questions about decisions made, mainly in the late 1960s, by people who were still alive and active in city government and community affairs for decades afterward:

  • Who signed off on the decision to run I-244 right through the heart of Deep Greenwood?
  • Who decided that the Greenwood and Lansing Avenue commercial districts should be demolished?
  • Who decided to demolish the original Booker T. Washington High School, a building that had survived the 1921 Riot?
  • Why were the promises of new and better housing, retail, and community facilities never fulfilled?
  • Who among African-American community leaders lent their support to these plans?
  • How is it that a well-intentioned, progressive program like Model Cities, part of President Johnson's War on Poverty, resulted in the destruction of Black Wall Street?

It's easy to imagine city leaders thinking: Better that Tulsans should blame long-dead city leaders and anonymous rioters for the destruction of Greenwood than to wonder about the judgment of present-day leaders who signed off on its second destruction.

Some day, someone needs to write the history of urban renewal in Tulsa, with a particular focus on the Greenwood District and Model Cities.

But these local factors would not have influenced the writers and producers of the Smithsonian documentary.

This is the most generous spin I can put on it: They couldn't believe that Greenwood was rebuilt so quickly after the riot (or at all), so they assumed that the dates on the films were incorrect and that the scenes of prosperity predated 1921.

My hypothesis regarding Greenwood and national cultural sensitivites is twofold: First, that the story of Greenwood's reconstruction would undermine the left-wing narrative that only government action can right societal wrongs, which are the result of capitalism and individual liberty. This was the gist of OSU-Tulsa Professor J. S. Maloy's objection to my 2007 column about the Greenwood Gap theory, expressed in a letter to Urban Tulsa Weekly: "The free market will always indulge racism, ignorance, fear, and sheer pettiness of spirit in the name of profits. Only a democratic process--public investment constrained by public consultation--can do better." While his letter to UTW is not online, the original version of my rebuttal is here, detailing my sources and inviting him to do his own investigation. Maloy's apparent ideological commitment to the superiority of government action to voluntary action led him to disbelieve documentary evidence to the contrary.

Second, that the reconstruction of Greenwood and the resilience of its people raises uncomfortable questions about present-day American culture. If Tulsa's African-American community could rebuild within a year, despite government-imposed obstacles, despite the resurgent Ku Klux Klan, what was it about the character and social capital of that community that we lack today?

TAKE ACTION: Tulsans concerned about an accurate portrayal of Greenwood's resurgence can contact the Smithsonian Channel and urge them to issue a correction and to edit the narration and sequence to reflect the correct locations and chronology.

We would love to hear your thoughts. Send Smithsonian Channel your suggestions, comments, questions, and concerns to contact@smithsoniannetworks.com or call us at 844-SMITHTV (764-8488).

About 10 years ago, an intelligently entertaining (and often spiritually edifying) pop culture blog went on permanent hiatus. It's worth revisiting, in this year of the 500th anniversary of its pseudepigraphous author's great historical moment.

The premise of Luther at the Movies: The Great Reformer, famed for his blunt speech, reviewing the latest cultural effluent from Hollywood.

The blog's tagline:

Join me, Martin Luther (Doktor), as I do to contemporary cinema what I did to the Whore of Babylon. Unless I am convinced that a motion picture does not emit a stench to choke a sow, my conscience is captive to my impeccable taste. Here I sit, in a comfy Loews stadium-seating theatre, replete with Nacho bar and adjustable arm rests! I can do no other!

From the Blogspot "About me" section:

Although alive in Christ, as far as this vale of tears is concerned, I am currently as dead as Chevy Chase's movie career, though I have not let that interfere with a robust drinking and blogging career. My favorite color is blood red and I like walking in the rain.

From the inaugural post:

...Well, beware you purveyors of pompous pus foisted on shepherdless sheep--I'm back! The wretched of the earth who seek to escape their miserable lives for two hours only to be tricked into seeing V for Vendetta now have a champion!

Hollywood, New York, London, Rome, Bombay--listen well! The only cheek I will turn is the one on my backside--for you to kiss as I eviscerate your contemptible contributions to the common culture. And yes, I mean derivative crap like Lucky Number Slevin!...

Luther did not limit himself to music:

As we look ahead to launching another child into higher education, I am thinking that the Ivy League schools have ceased to offer an education worthy of the price tag, much less their long and honorable heritage.

Case in point: This center-left Yale student's complaint that his Shakespeare course had been politicized:

Full disclosure: politically I am center-left, voted for Hillary Clinton, and I dislike our current president. Politics in the classroom does not unsettle me because I disagree with the liberal viewpoints. What unsettles me, rather, is the thought that my education is being politicized at the expense of timeless truths.

I chose to study English because I wanted to improve my writing and reading abilities, because I value the literature of the language I speak, and because some aspects of the human condition are only accessible through books, plays, and poems. Reading Shakespeare should, of course, inform the way we think about systems of government, political leaders, and historical change. But it shouldn't require an "I'm With Her" sticker and a subscription to The Washington Post. One will have a difficult time deciphering the hidden nuances of Julius Caesar if one is determined to view his character through the prism of current events.

Literature is ideally a way of broadening our social imaginations. If authors are only worth reading insofar as they inform modern phenomena, then the entire English canon is of mere antiquarian interest and can be summarily dismissed.

Classrooms need not be purged of politics altogether. That's neither possible nor desirable. But professors must recognize the line between timeless political insights and rank partisanship. Politics in the classroom can also be a distraction from the syllabi and the space built into the curriculum for contextualizing historic sources with contemporary situations.

This prompted an interesting series of comments by the pseudonymous "Chi Huavara", posted on June 26, 2017 at 4:36 pm:

Finnegan,

You're starting to wake up. You've identified a problem, but though you've described the symptoms, you don't know what the problem is exactly quite yet. You can't really put your finger on it. Since you've already started, let me help you here.

It's important to understand the history of modern education in America, and in particular, Critical Theory and its origins. Some will attempt to mischaracterize what follows as a conspiracy theory, but this is really just the basic history of education in America, freely available to anyone willing to do the research.

After the Russian Revolution, Marxists were perplexed as to why Marxist thought didn't overtake Europe as they expected it would. So they set about devising ideologies and strategies specifically designed to conquer Western Civilization and the globe with Marxism.

In 1918, Hungarian Deputy Commissar for Culture and Marxist György Lukács was independently developing such strategies. Lukács developed what he called "cultural terrorism." One component of cultural terrorism, was to develop sexual education courses in schools that would work to distort traditional sexual morals. He came to the conclusion that if sexual morals in Christians could be compromised and undermined when they were children, then Christianity itself could be destroyed, and along with it Western Civilization and therefore opposition to Marxist indoctrination. He surmised that Christianity was the foundation of Western Civilization, and therefore had to be directly attacked. He accomplished this by highly criticizing Christian sexual moral values in the classroom, while simultaneously promoting sexual promiscuity. He also derided parental authority, which children are always open to. This had the effect of transforming children into bullies, petty thieves, sex predators, murderers, and sociopaths. The Hungarian working class became enraged at Lukacs' work, and drove him out of Hungary. He would...

In 1923, In 1923, Lukacs founded the Institute for Marxism at Frankfurt University in Weimar Germany along with fellow Marxists Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno. Cultural Marxists came to realize however, that their true intentions would be better concealed if they changed the name to the Institute of Social Research, which is popularly referred to as the Frankfurt School. The primary goal of the Frankfort School was to translate Marxism from economic terms to cultural terms, or to teach Cultural Marxism. It would use multidisciplinary methods to indoctrinate and manufacture new groups of oppressed proletariat. Marcuse used polymorphous perversion to expand the ranks of the proletariat to homosexuals and transexuals. Gramsci's "Long March Through The Culture" strategy was utilized alongside Freudianism to create a kind of psychological spearhead in their War on Christianity and Western Civilization.

In 1930, Marxist Max Horkheimer became director of the Frankfurt School, and begun work to transform György Lukács' work into the ideology of Cultural Marxism, which wouldn't be fully realized until some time in the 1950s.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, many professors from the Frankfort School fled since they were identified with Bolsheviks, the school having been modeled after the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow, and also since many of their members were Jewish. Professors from the Frankfort School would relocate to the United States and become very influential in American universities and re-establish the Frankfort School in New York City with help from Columbia University. The Frankfurt School professors would shift their goal from destroying Western culture in Germany, to destroying Western culture in America.

At Columbia University, Cultural Marxism would come to be known as Critical Theory, which all modern circular is based on today.

Then like clockwork, 20 years after György Lukács Critical Theory (Cultural Marxism) is taught in America, we see the rise of the beatniks, and later the hippies; the first American victims of György Lukács' academic indoctrination strategy. The beatniks and hippies, exhibited the same kinds of behavioral aberrations as the earlier Hungarian students as bullies, petty thieves, sex predators, murderers, and sociopaths.

These boomer-era hippies then became professors, and through the haze of LSD and other mind-altering substances, continued to indoctrinate generations of future students with Critical Theory nonsense.

This is why you see what you see from your professors. It's their designed purpose to indoctrinate you with far left Marxist ideology, rather than provide a genuine education. And to ridicule and punish those who question their recitations.

What can be done?

I propose the ratification of a Constitutional Amendment that would establish a permanent separation of education and state. After all, when you have state funded and supported "education," then what you're going to get is generations of highly indoctrinated statists every graduation.

#SeparationOfEducationAndState

Totalitarian communism as a political force is mostly dead, but the cultural movement it spawned to undermine the West has succeeded and continues its erosive work in schools across Western Europe and the Anglosphere.

David Marshall Rollo, a leader in Tulsa choral music for over a half-century, a friend and mentor to many, passed away on April 25, 2017, at the age of 74, of complications from pneumonia. I was blessed to know David for 40 years as his student at Holland Hall, as a singer under his direction at Coventry Chorale, and as a friend.

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David will be remembered by family and friends this Saturday, June 24, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 501 S. Cincinnati, in downtown Tulsa. David's former students at Holland Hall will perform de Victoria's O Magnum Mysterium during the prelude to the service, at approximately 10:45 am. During the service, the Trinity Choir will perform "The Lord Is My Shepherd," the setting of Psalm 23 by the late Trinity choirmaster and organist Thomas Matthews. (Holland Hall alumni wishing to sing O Magnum Mysterium during the prelude are requested to arrive at the Trinity choir room (in the basement) by 10:15 to rehearse. The Trinity choir will rehearse at 10.)

David_Rollo-HH_Early.jpgA Cleveland native, David came to the University of Tulsa for college, earning a bachelor's and master's degrees in vocal performance, under the direction of the legendary Arthur Hestwood. David toured for a year with Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians. In 1967, he joined the faculty of Holland Hall, serving as vocal music instructor, chairman of the fine arts department, and director of student activities, retiring in 1996. He also served for a time as director of the Tulsa Community Chorus at Tulsa Junior College. In 1982, David founded Coventry Chorale, a mixed-voice chorus performing classical and sacred music, serving as its artistic director and conductor until the Chorale's final concert in 2005. In the 1970s, David was choir director at Christ United Methodist Church; he joined the choir of Trinity Episcopal Church in 1980 and remained a Trinity parishoner from that point onward. David recorded two albums with his choirs: Holland Hall Concert Chorus, Standing Ovation, 1977; Coventry Chorale, The Lord Is My Shepherd: A Tribute to Thomas Matthews, 2002.

I first encountered Mr. Rollo as a freshman, a mediocre alto saxophonist in Holland Hall's then-tiny instrumental music ensemble, and then as a sophomore in his music theory class. His office, right next to the Commons, was a favorite hangout for many students, particularly those involved in music. Sometime during my sophomore year, I went to see his office to see him about tickets for the school musical. He complimented my speaking voice and asked if I'd ever thought about trying out for Concert Chorus. I hadn't, but at his encouragement, I did, and I made the cut. The following year I made it into the school's twelve-voice Madrigal Singers.

David Rollo believed that high school students were capable of singing great music beautifully, and under his tutelage we sang Mozart's "Sparrow Mass," settings of Te Deum by Mozart and Haydn, Mendelssohn's "O for the Wings of a Dove," Bach's Cantata BWV 159, Benjamin Britten's setting of Hodie Christus Natus Est, Randall Thompson's "Last Words of David" and "Frostiana," English and French and Italian madrigals, and, of course, the anthems of Trinity organist and choirmaster Thomas Matthews. We did popular and modern music, too. We sang a fall concert (popular) and a spring concert (classical), at Lessons and Carols, and out in the community -- for example, at St. Aidan's for the ordination of the school's chaplain, Father Ibn Masud Syedullah, which gave us an introduction to Anglican chant. Is there any Tulsa high school today, public or private, singing the challenging repertoire that David Rollo taught his students?

There may have been a few students in the chorus that had personal vocal training, but for most of us what we learned about singing, David Rollo taught us during our hour-long rehearsal every other day. He taught us to enunciate, to use our diaphragms, to produce head tones and sing without vibrato.

David opened nearly every Holland Hall Concert Chorus rehearsal with O Magnum Mysterium, a polyphonic setting of a Christmas responsorial chant by 16th century Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria. The song was always a part of Holland Hall's annual service of Lessons and Carols at Trinity, but during rehearsals David used O Magnum to teach us to tune our notes, to listen to one another, to blend our voices, and to taper every phrase. He would often have us mix ourselves, so that no one was standing next to anyone singing the same part. Here is a recording of the piece by the 1977 edition of the Holland Hall Concert Chorus, conducted by David Rollo:

After high school graduation, I sang for Mr. Rollo in the Tulsa Junior College Community Chorus. I remember a Fourth of July concert on the west bank of the river, performing Peter J. Wilhousky's arrangement of "Battle Hymn of the Republic." I found a news article from 1993 saying that David had served as an adjunct instructor at TJC for 48 semesters.

After college, my wife and I joined Coventry Chorale. David stretched the abilities of this amateur group with Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil (a cappella and in Russian), requiem masses by Mozart, Fauré, Duruflé, and Saint-Saëns; Puccini's Messa di Gloria; and works by modern Oklahoma composers such as TU Professor Joseph Rivers ("Tempests Round Us Gather"), Louis Ballard ("The Gods Will Hear"), and Thomas Matthews. Although Trinity was home, Coventry performed at Episcopal churches in Ponca City, Ada, Pryor, and Okmulgee, at OK Mozart, a concert of Gilded Age music connected with an exhibition at Philbrook, for the centennial celebrations of Holy Family Cathedral, and newly-composed Shabbat service music at Temple Israel.

One of my favorite concerts to sing involved a series of a cappella Anglican anthems that David had selected from renaissance composers like Thomas Tallis and William Byrd and settings of old songs by 20th century composers ("Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" by Elizabeth Poston, "Faire Is the Heaven" by William Henry Harris).

On September 11, 2002, David organized and led Tulsa's participation in the Rolling Requiem, a worldwide memorial for the victims of the 9/11 attacks, beginning in each time zone around the world at 9:46 am local time, circling the globe with Mozart's "Requiem." Over a thousand people crowded into Trinity for the service. The following year Faure's Requiem was performed, and the tradition continued for some years after for Trinity's annual 9/11 remembrance.

It was through David that my wife and I became acquainted with Tulsa Boy Singers, and years later our sons would get their start in musical education and performance with TBS, providing a solid foundation for their involvement in instrumental music.

David was deeply involved in the life of Trinity Episcopal Church. He was a longtime choir member, served as vestryman and headed the liturgy and worship committee, and in later years served at the church's reception desk during the week. For a few years, I had the joy of singing alongside David, at his invitation, as one of the Wise Men at Trinity's Epiphany procession, singing the Willcocks/Rutter Matin Responsory ("I Look from Afar").

But it's not enough to talk about David's musical accomplishments. David's genuine warmth and good humor, particularly his love of groan-worthy puns, are an essential part of what made him unforgettable to those who sang for him and caused him to become not merely a teacher and conductor but a genuine friend. If no one else remembered your birthday, you could count on getting a card from David.

David was a prolific communicator, emailing the latest terrible pun or shaggy-dog story to his long list of friends. He was vocal about his political opinions as well, forwarding articles to his friends, and a frequent writer of letters to the editor. From time to time, David would send me a story idea or a comment on my latest article. His political opinions might be classified as common-sense conservative: Supporting the troops and expressions of patriotism, opposing public funding for dams in the Arkansas River, supporting the idea of moving election day to the weekend. Our last email exchange was in mid-April: He wrote, with disdain, about the news that MIT Press was publishing a book called Communism for Kids.

Last fall David wrote some topical limericks that were published in the Tulsa World:

We've gone through election muck,
For 160 days we are stuck
With a mayor whose term
Ends in December, that's firm.
We wish G.T. Bynum good luck!

The Donald (with last name of Trump)
Deserves a good kick in the rump.
For he was recorded
Making comments so sordid.
Now Trump really looks like a chump.

David's friends knew of his health challenges stretching back for over 20 years, the effect, one suspected, of decades of smoking, overeating, living alone, and generally not taking care of his health. He amazed everyone by battling through some ferocious illnesses and was with us longer than we dared hope -- but still gone too soon.

Requiescat in pace, Señor Notas.

ONE MORE THING: Here's a memory of David's ability to think on his feet from that November 1989 concert of American music and Coventry Chorale's performance of Louis Ballard's "The Gods Will Hear." This was a complex piece of music, with multiple rhythms, unusual instrumentation, and many tempo and key changes. The concert was being recorded for later broadcast on KWGS. At one point, David, while conducting, had to play a bullroarer -- a carved piece of wood at the end of a string that makes a load roaring noise when you whirl the rope rapidly in a circle. During a particularly rapid passage, David made a quick page turn and pulled the middle pages right off the staples and off the stand. The chorale tried to continue but soon got lost, sounding like a phonograph winding down when the power is suddenly cut. David cut us off, retrieved the prodigal pages from the floor, told us to go back to a clean starting point a few pages earlier, and counted us in. When I listened to the broadcast several months later, I braced myself in anticipation of the crash, but the edit was seamless.

MORE MEMORIES:

San Antonio's Majestic Theatre facade, by Michael Bates (IMG_0547)

A friend asked me recently where I stood on the issue of design guidelines in zoning, particularly as it affects property rights and a proposed overlay district for downtown Tulsa. I referred him to a sampling relevant articles from the BatesLine archive, in which I discuss zoning generally and defend the idea of overlay districts such as neighborhood conservation districts, urban conservation districts, and historic preservation districts. I thought the links might be of broader interest:

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This Friday, May 26, 2017, at 7:30 pm, the Tulsa Boy SIngers will perform their farewell concert at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th & Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa.

The program includes many classical and popular favorites from over the years: Haydn's Missa Brevis, "Skylark" by Johnny Mercer, Palestrina's Sicut cervus, Franck's "Panis Angelicus," "The Father's Love" by Lole, a medley from the musical Oliver!, and many more selections.

Tulsa Boy Singers was founded in 1948 by George Bowen and was led for decades by Gene Roads. Stephen Tappe succeeded Roads as director, and for the last 12 years or so, Casey Cantwell, choirmaster and organist at Trinity Episcopal Church, has directed TBS. Jackie Boyd Saylor has served as assistant director under Roads, Tappe, and Cantwell, commuting for many years from her home in Ponca City.

I'm very sad that, because of prior commitments I can't change, I won't be able to attend the final performance of an organization that has meant so much to our family. My oldest son joined at the age of nine, starting as a treble and finishing as a low bass. (That's him on the far left of a photo from around 2007). His tenure included TBS's singing tour of Britain in 2007. My youngest began at the age of five in TBS's junior choir but couldn't participate this year because of conflicts with another musical training program. My oldest son's first performance, at Philbrook's Festival of Trees, providentially opened the door to my dad becoming Philbrook's official Santa Claus for many years.

TBS introduced my sons to a high level of rehearsal and ensemble performance and the beauties of classical music and instilled both a solid foundation for musicianship and confidence in public performance. My biggest gripe against TBS is that there hasn't been an choral program for girls as devoted to high standards of repertoire and performance.

Many thanks to Casey and Jackie and the alumni and parents who have sustained TBS for so many years. I hope that many alumni and friends of TBS show up this Friday night to salute their efforts, to enjoy beautiful music in the beautiful Gothic surroundings of Trinity Episcopal Church, and to celebrate what TBS has meant to our community.

Citizen-Jane.jpgCitizen Jane, a film documenting the struggle to preserve Lower Manhattan from being destroyed by expressway construction in the 1960s, is currently showing at Tulsa's Circle Cinema. A special event at the 2:00 pm showing on Sunday, May 21, 2017, will pay tribute to Tulsa activist Betsy Horowitz, who led the successful fight to preserve Maple Ridge and River Parks from a planned expressway.

Jane Jacobs, a journalist by training and a Greenwich Village resident, turned her lessons learned fighting the city planners into a number of books that have stood the test of time, the most famous of which is The Death and Life of Great American Cities. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand what makes a neighborhood or district thrive and what makes it fail.

Citizen Jane is a timely tale of what can happen when engaged citizens fight the power for the sake of a better world. Arguably no one did more to shape our understanding of the modern American city than Jane Jacobs, the visionary activist and writer who fought to preserve urban communities in the face of destructive development projects. Director Matt Tyranuer (Valentino: The Last Emperor) vividly brings to life Jacobs' 1960s showdown with ruthless construction kingpin Robert Moses over his plan to raze lower Manhattan to make way for a highway, a dramatic struggle over the very soul of the neighborhood. The highway would have eliminated much of Washington Square Park and other Manhattan landmarks. Because of organized community opposition led by Jacobs, the project was dropped in 1969.

In Tulsa in the late 1960s, an outspoken Maple Ridge resident, Betsy Horowitz (1929-2009), similarly led the successful grassroots effort to oppose the Riverside Expressway that would have taken out historic Maple Ridge homes and Lee Elementary School, prevented the establishment of the Tulsa's River Parks and eliminated the opportunity for the current development of the much anticipated A Gathering Place. The Oklahoma Highway Department officially cancelled the expressway project in 1972. Betsy once stated that "to save Maple Ridge and Lee School was not just a dream of mine; it was a passion that became an obsession."

Circle Cinema has invited Andrew Horowitz, Betsy's son, to speak about his mother's efforts and passion after a screening of the film on Sunday, May 21, at 2pm. The Tulsa Historical Society will have a display of materials in the Circle lobby reflecting the events that unfolded during the battle over the proposed Riverside Expressway.


MORE:

Here's my tribute to Betsy Horowitz following her death in 2009. Unfortunately, the Goodbye Tulsa podcast interview (dead link) with Betsy's son Andrew Horowitz has vanished from the web; it wasn't captured by Internet Archive. (If someone has it, send it to me and I'll host it here.)

Here's my tribute to Jane Jacobs from 2006, which highlights three of her big ideas about cities and neighborhoods.

From 2005, my urban design reading list, which includes Jacobs's Death and Life of Great American Cities.

In 2011, Roberta Brandes Gratz, author of The Battle for Gotham, posted a thoughtful review of Jane Jacobs' legacy, in light of claims that she was responsible for NIMBYism.

The transgender debate is very personal to cultural critic Camille Paglia, professor of literature at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, as she tells Washington Free Beacon writer Sam Dorman, in a highly-quotable interview about her latest book Free Women, Free Men. Paglia, a Catholic-raised atheist lesbian who nevertheless reveres the classic arts and literature produced by Western Civilization, dissents strongly (and entertainingly) from leftist and feminist orthodoxy. In this interview, Paglia debunks Democrat excuses for Hillary Clinton's defeat, explains Donald Trump's victory, evaluates the political impact of Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Elizabeth Warren, and criticizes the Left for ignoring the ethical realities of abortion. But I particularly want to call your attention to this passage, in which she describes her own experience of "gender dysphoria" and articulates what used to be commonsense about transgenderism, locker rooms, and personal pronouns.

[Dorman:] You say you were never encouraged by "misguided adults" to believe that you were actually a boy or "that medical interventions could bring that hidden truth to life." Do we have an obligation to not participate in or encourage someone's gender dysphoria in adulthood, or just childhood?

[Paglia:] My lifelong gender dysphoria has certainly been a primary inspiration for my entire career as a researcher and writer. I have never for a moment felt female--but neither have I ever felt male either. I regard my ambiguous position between the sexes as a privilege that has given me special access to and insight into a broad range of human thought and response. If a third gender option ("Other") were ever added to government documents, I would be happy to check it. However, I have never believed, and do not now, that society has any obligation to bend over backwards to accommodate my particular singularity of identity. I am very concerned about current gender theory rhetoric that convinces young people that if they feel uneasy about or alienated from their assignment to one sex, then they must take concrete steps, from hormone therapy to alarmingly irreversible surgery, to become the other sex. I find this an oddly simplistic and indeed reactionary response to what should be regarded as a golden opportunity for flexibility and fluidity. Furthermore, it is scientifically impossible to change sex. Except for very rare cases of intersex, which are developmental anomalies, every cell of the human body remains coded with one's birth sex for life.

Beyond that, I believe that my art-based theory of "sexual personae" is far more expansive and truthful about human psychology than is current campus ideology: who we are or want to be exceeds mere gender, because every experimental persona that we devise contains elements of gesture, dress, and attitude rich with historical and cultural associations. (For Halloween in childhood, for example, I defiantly dressed as Robin Hood, a Roman soldier, a matador, Napoleon, and Hamlet.) Because of my own personal odyssey, I am horrified by the escalating prescription of puberty-blockers to children with gender dysphoria like my own: I consider this practice to be a criminal violation of human rights. Have the adults gone mad? Children are now being callously used for fashionable medical experiments with unknown long-term results.

In regard to the vexed issue of toilets and locker rooms, if private unisex facilities can be conveniently provided through simple relabeling, it would be humane to do so, but I fail to see why any school district, restaurant, or business should be legally obligated to go to excess expense (which ultimately penalizes the public) to serve such a minuscule proportion of the population, however loud their voices. And speaking of voices: as a libertarian, I oppose all intrusion by government into the realm of language, which belongs to the people and which evolves organically over time. Thus the term "Ms." eventually became standard English, but another 1970s feminist hybrid, "womyn", did not: the populace as a whole made that decision, as it always does with argot or slang filtering up from ethnic or avant-garde subgroups. The same principle applies to preferred transgender pronouns: they are a courtesy that we may choose to defer to, but in a modern democracy, no authority has the right to compel their usage.

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Latest links of interest:

Introduction to DV: Capture FAQ and Myth Guide - The Digital FAQ

Useful tips for understanding the process of getting video across that 1394 Firewire cable from your camcorder to your computer.

Photo essay: Detroit as I knew it

Photographer Herman Krieger, born in Detroit in 1926, documents with then-and-now photographs the places he lived, studied, and worked before leaving the city in 1951. "The houses in Detroit, in which I lived, are all gone. They have either been razed or covered over by a highway."

Mr. Krieger has lived an interesting life: Moving to San Francisco as a photographer, then becoming a computer programmer in 1956 and working all over Europe, and then coming back to America in 1990, earning a Bachelor's in Fine Arts at the University of Oregon, and working since that time as a photographer. One of his photographs is part of an exhibit of landscape photography at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, running through December 2, 2017.

A Story of Slavery in Modern America - The Atlantic

Alex Tizon, who came to America with his family from the Philippines in 1964, tells the story of the woman who was closer to him and his siblings than their own mother, who lived out her final years with his wife and children, and who finally had the chance to return home.

"Her name was Eudocia Tomas Pulido. We called her Lola. She was 4 foot 11, with mocha-brown skin and almond eyes that I can still see looking into mine--my first memory. She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived. Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn't kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been. So many nights, on my way to the bathroom, I'd spot her sleeping in a corner, slumped against a mound of laundry, her fingers clutching a garment she was in the middle of folding."

This was Tizon's final story. He died in his sleep in March. "The Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Alex Tizon built an exemplary career by listening to certain types of people--forgotten people, people on the margins, people who had never before been asked for their stories. Alex's wife, Melissa Tizon, told me recently that her husband was always impatient with small talk, because he believed that all people had within them an epic story, and he wanted to hear those epic stories--and then help tell them to the world. 'Somewhere in the tangle of the subject's burden and the subject's desire is your story,' he liked to say."

Turning the page: Tulsa man finds work in living room after years of travel | Whatareyou | tulsaworld.com

Tulsa voice artist and audiobook narrator W. B. Ward talks about his craft:

"Ward said he never listened to an audiobook before taking the plunge into his current profession. He said it's recommended that people who voice books listen to others to see how they handle the job.

"'I don't like doing that, and I almost refuse to do that,' he said. 'Instead, I listen to a lot of real old-time radio -- the old Dragnet and the old Blondie. Father Knows Best is my favorite because these guys were actual masters at telling a story through vocals only and making it carry over, and they had to do this on a live basis seven days a week in some cases. So I consider these guys to be absolute masters and, all of us, we are just kindergartners playing in the sandbox right now.'

"Ward enjoys the old radio shows, and he said he uses them as 'sleeping pills.'

"'I used to watch TV to go to bed,' he said. 'But when you are listening to an old radio show, it doesn't matter which way you sleep. If you are watching TV, you had to lay a certain way to do it. With a radio program, it doesn't matter what position you are in or what room you are in. I love it.'"

(Good points. I used to use C-SPAN as a "sleeping pill" when traveling, but I found that light from a TV screen in a dark room would interfere with falling asleep. Also, old-time radio -- "Hancock's Half Hour" is my current favorite -- tends to have a more subdued dynamic range, where the brighter sound of contemporary radio -- car dealership ads, for example -- can rouse you from your slumber.)

Christian parents, your kids aren't equipped to be public school missionaries - TheBlaze

"...your child is not ready to be a missionary. He cannot be a 'witness' to others until he himself has been properly formed in the faith. It's no surprise that most of the young 'missionaries' we commission and send forth to minister to the lost souls in public schools quickly become one of the lost souls. We don't need to sit around theorizing about whether the missionary approach to education is wise or effective. We already know that it isn't. The vast majority of the parents who think their kids are being 'salt and light' to their peers in school are simply oblivious to the fact that their little Bible warriors have long since defected and joined the heathens. You can hardly blame the kids for this. They're just kids, after all. They aren't warriors. Warriors are trained and disciplined. Children are neither of those things. I imagine this is why St. Paul didn't travel to Athens and Corinth recruiting toddlers to help him carry the Gospel into pagan lands.

"Education is supposed to prepare a child to carry the torch of truth. That is, he's supposed to be ready to carry it once his education has been completed. This should not be a 'throw them into the deep end to see if they can swim' strategy. They can't swim. You and I can barely swim, morally and spiritually speaking, and we're adults. Do you expect your child to be more spiritually mature and morally courageous than you?"

OCPA - Oklahoma K-12 Education Spending & Revenue

Easy-to-navigate data compiled from the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System and State Department of Education.

Overview: Statewide education spending, student enrollment, and spending per student; from 2005-2006 to 2015-2016.

District Trends: Select a district to see the 11-year trend for spending and enrollment, and revenue and spending per student.

District Spending by Year: See spending by Function (such as instruction) and Category (such as salaries), both the dollar amount and by percent of total spending. Trend graphs are also included on this tab.

Function Detail: See a district's spending in detail, by Function type and details (objects) for each type.

Spending Detail: See a district's spending in detail, by Category type and details (objects) in each type.

Revenues: See the overview of a district's revenue by year.

Revenue Details: See the details of a district's revenue by sources of money and by funds.

Ranking: Which district spends the most on education, has the most revenue, has the largest enrollment, and the highest spending per students.

You Actually Would Die without Your Coffee: Aleteia

"Research the world over is confirming that drinking coffee keeps you alive ... but it doesn't work if you drink it in moderation. In fact, Harvard researchers found that low consumption of coffee is linked to deaths from heart-related illnesses. To get the health benefits of coffee, you have to drink it like you mean it.

"Drinking three to five cups of coffee per day gives you a longer life, making you 15 percent less likely to die early, lowering your risk of dying from a heart attack or a stroke by 21 percent and slashing your risk for type 2 diabetes by 12 percent.

"Three cups of Italian-style espresso per day cuts the risk of prostate cancer in half. And a study in the British Medical Journal found that coffee helps prevent clogging of the arteries.

"When it comes to your brain, coffee does more than just help you feel alert. It has neuroprotective properties, and drinking it regularly can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's -- but to get the full 20 percent reduction, you have drink at least 3 cups per day."

After the Exile: Poetry and the Death of Culture | Public Discourse

"I have lately begun to wonder whether a good gauge of what I and other professors in arts and letters accomplish might be this: to raise up a few students every year who could read my old issues of magazines like The Century and understand half of what is there.

"Academe has largely become an institution devoted to the destruction of cultural memory. Most of my best freshmen Honors students have never heard of Tennyson, much less had their imaginations formed by his eminently humane and approachable poetry. That is no reflection on Tennyson in particular. They have also never heard of Milton, Wordsworth, Keats, and any number of the great artists in what is supposedly their mother tongue....

"We are a people now illiterate in a way that is unprecedented for the human race. We can decipher linguistic signs on a page, but we have no songs and immemorial stories in our hearts....

"I have sometimes been accused of wishing that the culture roundabout me were truly Catholic, or truly Christian, or truly something or other, but my principal objection to it is that it is no longer, properly speaking, a culture at all. The deep roots have been severed. There is no agriculture in a dust bowl of tumbleweeds, and no human culture among people who derive their mental landscape from the ephemeral and quasi-lingual utterances of the mass media and, God help us, from the new and improved inanities of mass education."

Incredibly Detailed Map of the World's Religions - Brilliant Maps

Colored by plurality religion in each census subdivision. In the USA, the county is used (census tract would have been even more interesting). In some countries, smaller geographical units are used. The article notes the existence of religion by default in Scandinavian nations. I suspect the difference in religiosity between Czechia and Slovakia, between Estonia and its Baltic neighbors, and between Vietnam and its neighbors is mainly a difference in the way those governments count religious adherents. Likewise, I don't think Australia is really that much more religious than New Zealand. I'd be interested to know how


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